Living – Life – Large

Courtesy photo

The United States of America has long been considered a “big nation.” We have always strived for bragging rights of bigger and better, whether it is the biggest cities, houses or on a negative note, the biggest people. We have become “Supersized.” Supersize, Big Gulp and the Two For One, have become a part of our American culture.

Even though the Supersize-style advertising campaigns have quieted, they’re still available, just not so blatant. The hush did not cover the nation soon enough. As our waistlines grew, so did our unwillingness to exert movement.  “We The People” have become fast moving and unwilling to wait while we become adverse to exertion. We have become lazy.  We have become so lethargic and slothful that we don’t even want to carry cash in our pockets.

Because a plastic card is easier to carry than bank notes, these omnivorous people are only backed up with plastic. It varies according to demographics, but Americans are going cashless. According to a Pew Research Center survey released last year, over 51 percent of the people say they don’t make any of their purchases in cash.

What would happen if paper money suddenly became obsolete altogether and every transaction was required to be digital? It would be terrible, as we would lose even more freedom. There would be issues surrounding accessibility, security and privacy. All non-cash payments require having a bank account or a connection to a formal financial institution. 

Not to unleash another conspiracy theory, but governments could use digital trails to scrutinize a population and prevent them from using mobile or digital services if they disapprove of their financial activity. This platform could also target people with financial products they don’t need. At the very least they would know what you are doing.

When I hand you a $20 bill, there are no data captured by anybody from that transaction. It’s a relatively anonymous private thing, whereas all digital forms of payment generate data trails. Cash always works. All I have to do is give it to you, and then I have transferred value to you.

Even the world’s most cashless societies, like Sweden and the Netherlands, have recommended people keep paper money in case of emergencies. Weather-related disasters have caused power outages that prevent people from making electronic transactions. 

Using banknotes is important and should be used instead of a credit card. We need to understand what not using cash is doing. When I leave home with a $50 banknote, I have $50. When I have dinner and pay the restaurant owner, they have $50. When the restaurant owner uses the $50 for a bottle of wine to take home, the wine shop has $50. When the wine shop owner then uses the $50, wherever it goes, it is still $50.

No matter how many times it is used, it will still remain $50. It has fulfilled its purpose to everyone who used it for payment. The only one out of anything is the bank.

If I go to a restaurant and pay digitally, with a plastic card there are bank fees for my payment transaction. Though they vary greatly, I’ll just use 3 percent or around $1.50 of $50.  Each time the digital $50 is used, another $1.50 is removed from the transaction.

When I leave home with a plastic card, I have $50. When I have dinner and pay the restaurant owner, the restaurant owner uses the $50, then the wine shop owner uses the $50; the original $50 does not exist anymore.

After 30 transactions, the initial $50 will remain worth only $5 and the remaining $45 becomes the property of the bank, thanks to all digital transactions and fees. The best way we can support small businesses in today’s world is to use cash. This is also one way to help ourselves as well.

When this is put into perspective, imagine what each retailer is paying on a monthly basis in fees at 3 percent per transaction through their POS machine. If they have, for example, $50,000 in sales and 90 percent are by plastic cards, they are paying $1,500 in fees in one month — $18,000 in a year! This comes out of their income every month.

Because we carry the excuse of “being easy,” we have been guided into undermining our own system. What is a decaying factor is there are so many that seem to be at war with themselves. They scurry through days of confrontation and frustration while being driven by a troubled society as it pulls one new string after another with the skill of a seasoned puppet master.

Our world is uncertain and what is seen everywhere is troubling. Everyday we are injected with a new crisis and conflict. To counter all the catastrophic predicaments, perhaps a self-assignment should be installed. Instead of looking for the right guru, political leader or a philosopher king to step forth, maybe we should take responsibility for our own inner being. Following the path to thought and contemplation becomes an inseparable quality in a new shift of attitude and perspective.

So when you order a frothy Bud Light from your stunning bartender, be sure and leave a cash tip because the 3 percent will also apply to their tip. - dbA

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